BUFFALO, N.Y. — On a night the Sabres celebrated the tradition of their old building, Jack Eichel and his Buffalo teammates continued to establish a home-ice advantage in their current arena.
Eichel had two goals to extend his NHL-leading point streak to 15 games, and linemate Victor Oloffson scored the deciding goal in the third period as Buffalo rallied to beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 for their third straight win.
Jimmy Vesey also scored, Sam Reinhart had two assists, and Linus Ullmark made 36 saves for the Sabres, who received an extended ovation from the crowd after improving to 10-3-3 at home.
“It’s important to play well at home,” Eichel said. “The best teams in the league do it. They make it a tough place to play and we’re trying to do that here.”
Matt Duchene, Colton Sissons and Ryan Johansen scored for the Predators. Juuse Saros stopped 28 shots.
Nashville had won two in a row and earned a point in seven of its past eight games, going 5-1-2 during that stretch.
“We feel like we deserved at least a point,” Johansen said. “We just didn’t do quite enough to do that.”
It was the Predator’s first loss in Buffalo since Dec. 1, 2008. The eight-game run was tied for the second-longest active road winning streak in the NHL.
As part of the Sabres’ season-long 50th anniversary celebration, fans in attendance received gold, red, blue and orange t-shirts to recreate the multi-colored sections of Memorial Auditorium, where the Sabres played from 1970 to 1996.
Dave Andreychuk, Adam Creighton and Mike Foligno were among a group of 16 players from Buffalo’s 1980s teams recognized during a pregame ceremony.
“Having the alumni around, I think it adds a little bit of extra energy in the building,” Eichel said. “We’ve done a good job of feeding off it this year and trying to come out and perform well for our fans.”
Eichel scored two goals for the second straight game to bring his season total to 22, which ranks second in the NHL. His six multi-goal games are the most in the league.
The Sabres’ captain has 14 goals and 13 assists during his 15-game point streak that matched Chicago’s Patrick Kane for the longest in the NHL this season. Kane tallied 11 goals and 13 assists during his stretch that lasted from Nov. 2-30.
Both of Eichel’s goals came in the second period. He beat Saros with a rising wrist shot from the left circle to tie the score about five minutes into the period and deflected a long shot from Henri Jokiharju to put Buffalo in front 3-2 with 5:39 remaining in the third.
Olofsson rebounded his own miss to score the winning goal around the midway point of the third period. Oloffson’s initial shot from the right slot bounced off the end board to the other side of the crease, and the Sabres rookie lifted the puck over Saros’ shoulder for his 13th goal of the season. Oloffson’s 29 points lead all NHL rookies.
Johansen got the tying goal for Nashville when he knocked in a rebound off Filip Forsberg’s shot less than two minutes after Eichel scored for the second time.
Duchene gave Nashville the lead in the opening minute of the game when he manoeuvred around a sprawling Ullmark and scored from the left edge of the crease.
Vesey responded for Buffalo later in the first period. Receiving a pass from Rasmus Ristolainen in front, Vesey lifted a shot into the top of the net to record his 100th NHL point.
“It was a back-and-forth game,” Predators defenceman Ryan Ellis said. “We had our chances. They had theirs. We are a team that prides ourselves on defence and tonight it wasn’t good enough from our side.”
Reinhart said the fans in Buffalo’s KeyBank Center were louder than usual and helped the Sabres battle back.
“It seems like they’re getting louder and louder,” Reinhart said. “It’s nice to roll a couple of wins over and yet again make this a tough building to come into.”
BOGOSIAN TRADE REPORT
Buffalo has a logjam on the blue line and Zach Bogosian reportedly wants out of it.
Bogosian requested a trade from the Sabres on Thursday after he was scratched from the lineup, according to a tweet from TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said after the game he was unaware of Bogosian’s trade request.
“The NHL’s a place that’s full of news that spreads around, sometimes right, sometimes wrong,” Krueger said. “It doesn’t interest me at all, the noise.”
With Rasmus Dahlin returning after he missed eight games following a concussion, the Sabres have eight healthy defenceman on the roster. They dressed seven defenceman and 11 forwards against the Predators.
General manager Jason Botterill said he was “actively seeking” a trade to balance the Sabres’ roster three weeks ago.
That was before Bogosian returned after missing the first 22 games while recovering from off-season hip surgery. He is accounting for $5.142 million against Buffalo’s salary cap in the final season of a seven-year contract.
NOTES: Eichel’s 15-game point streak is the longest by a Sabres player since Tim Connolly had points in 16 straight games during the 2009-10 season. … This was Nashville’s first time losing this season when leading after the first period. They were 7-0-1 in such games entering Thursday. ... Predators D Mattias Ekholm played in his 500th NHL game.
Predators: Host Dallas on Saturday ahead of four-game trip.
Sabres: Open three-game trip Saturday at New York Islanders.
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